Review: The Gondry Brothers' Las Vegas Love Stories

by Joey Dalla Betta

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My original hope for this piece: to create a parable of contemporary Hollywood—branded, recycled, a little tired—wherein it becomes progressively clear that what was advertised as the Gondry Brothers’ latest film is, in reality, not a “film” at all. This is to say, you’d realize the Gondry Brothers’ latest work is a series of surreal advertisements for a hotel, then that each of the six “shorts” in the series runs for 8.2 seconds. The beauty of this narrative would’ve been naturally bolstered in discovering the hotel is located in Las Vegas, the United States’ most prototypically abject tourist attraction, and more still by the fact that its name is indebted to one of Hollywood’s oldest film studios.

This would’ve been terrible journalism. Not only would it have been largely off-base and unattractively pessimistic, but it’d also have been a little too easy; everything is indebted, in the economic sense of the word—things exist because they make someone somewhere money. To criticize this would be to forgo any real conversation, about anything. It’s a problem with the world we live in, but the film industry is not to blame.

That said, the Gondry Brothers really know how to make a commercial. I can imagine myself sitting on my parents’ couch, catching a glimpse of a body falling out of a Gondry sky, and asking Dad to stop fast forwarding so we could actually watch that one. Incidentally, some of the shots in these films are absolutely gorgeous. Suggestion: if you’re short on time and can only catch one, watch the vignette featuring the rolling die and implicit threesome. (When questioned about this scene, Olivier had this to say: “That’s personal.”)

Though it may seem ridiculous—the suggestion that you may be unable to sit through ~48 seconds of commercials—the Gondry Brothers and their creative collaborators at the Vegas hotel and Vice Media feel it’s more likely than you may think. The human attention span has dropped to an all-time low of 8.2 seconds. Coincidentally, this is the amount of time scientists say it takes to fall in love. Hence, the 8.2 second run time of each of these vignettes. The work is conceptual, beautiful and, again, a series of commercials for a Vegas hotel!  

In reflecting on the premiere, I can’t help but get caught up wondering if the line between art and branded content has ever been more blurred than it is in 2018. But when the product is a meaningful microfilm by two creative geniuses, who’s going to complain?

A woman spots love in first sight at a Las Vegas craps table and rolls the dice with one wish in mind.